Kimi Raikkonen says he is keen to add to his tally of F1 victories having signed up to a second season with Lotus in 2013, with the Finn insisting he is as hungry as ever to succeed in the sport.
The 2007 title winner returned to the grid with the Enstone-based team this season after two years away and has taken six podium finishes to lie third in the championship standings.
News that Raikkonen would stay with Lotus for 2013 came after he met the criteria required to activate the second year of his deal and the Finn said he retained his hunger to succeed as he seeks to return to the top step of the podium.
“I think there were a few people who had doubts about how I would perform after being away for a while,” he said. “Personally, I didn't feel I stopped racing at all. I may have been doing something different with rallying, but after coming back to Formula 1 I immediately felt fit enough – and fast enough – to start racing again. My hunger for winning is exactly the same as always and I think I've shown that I'm capable of fighting for victories. Obviously there have been none so far this year, but we have come close a few times and for sure we'll keep on trying for as long as it takes to start winning again.
“The main thing is to do my very best every time, every weekend, every race. I think to be able to perform better in the races I have to find more from myself and from the car in qualifying. This season has shown that you have to be on first two rows to be able to win every time. It's important to improve our grid positions for 2013. That's one of main targets for me.”
Raikkonen added that he saw 2012 as a stepping stone to bigger things with Lotus, with more to come in the seasons ahead.
“We have proven as team that we can build and develop a strong and reliable car,” he said. “This year has been a good platform to put down strong foundations for what will hopefully be an even better season next time around. We know what we need to do to improve in some important areas, which should help us get even better results next year. All in all I'm looking forward carrying on working with the team to achieve more good things in 2013.”